Airbnb stands for Air Bed and Breakfast, and was founded in San Francisco, Calif. in 2007. It is an online rental marketplace that functions as part of the sharing economy—it provides short-term accommodations, including various types of rooms, apartments, and houses for guests looking for a place to stay.
Based on AirDNA data, in March 2020 when COVID was labeled a global pandemic, European short-term rental reservations dropped by 80%, and in popular Airbnb U.S. cities, revenue decreased by 50%. Despite early declines, as the pandemic continued, renting a home of some type became a popular vacation option. Here are three top trends for travel and places to go with an Airbnb booking.
Relocation & Trying a New Neighborhood
As the pandemic persists and becomes more prevalent, companies and their workers have adapted to working from home. According to The New York Times and a Morning Consult survey, one in three of these new remote workers would move to a new place if remote working continues. When people consider relocating to be closer to family or to take the opportunity to explore a new community, they are considering Airbnb for their initial housing before committing to a more permanent move or making decisions on what type of housing to rent or buy. The pandemic has created an exodus from urban or city areas, into suburbs (24% of pandemic mobile households) and rural areas (21%), according to Airbnb data.
Increase of Domestic Travel
With many barriers to long-distance travel, people are interested in taking close-to-home, easily driveable vacations. Accommodations that are unique are particularly popular, including treehouses, yurts, and lakeside gateway houses. According to Airbnb, there’s a strong market for reservations within 200 miles of home. Single-home rentals are generally perceived as a safer option for avoiding airborne viruses and keeping social distance, compared to other vacation accommodation options.
Introduction of the Travel Pod
Homes are a comfortable place. Many families have endured a year of avoiding gatherings. For those families who have gathered for a vacation, an Airbnb is viewed as a safer way to connect with groups of loved ones—families, friends, and like-minded individuals. This style of quarantine vacations has been titled a “travel pod.” A travel pod is travel with others, while minimizing many of the risks associated with traditional group travel. Travel pods can rent a large villa, charter a boat, buy out a small hotel, or camp at a national park.
With this new travel trend, more prospective guests are eyeing short-term rentals, such as Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway. When a guest books an entire private home, it is sheltered from interaction with staff and other guests. Staying in a private rental home is likely to be safer than booking a hotel, given there is generally less direct person-to-person contact. On the flip side, guests might be inclined more than ever to scrutinize the details of this kind of short-term rental.
Things to Consider When Booking A Short-Term Stay
Is it safe to stay at short-term rentals during the pandemic? For those wondering whether vacation rentals are safe during the coronavirus pandemic, the answer really depends. In response to the pandemic crisis, the Airbnb platform ensures that all guests and hosts must wear masks and practice social distancing when interacting with each other. Airbnb’s safety policy has two options.
First, Airbnb’s “Enhanced Cleaning Initiative” requires hosts to implement a five-step process. This process includes cleaning dust and debris, sanitizing with the right disinfectant, adhering to room-by-room checklists, resetting rooms for each guest, and committing to higher cleaning standards (proper ventilation during cleanings, only using recommended cleaning supplies, and wearing PPE).
As a second measure, hosts can choose to opt into the “Booking Buffer.” This option imposes a longer vacancy period between stays, so guests can feel more secure knowing there has been no activity other than cleaning in the property during that time. Reservations will be automatically blocked during that time frame, currently set at 72 hours. These homes are identified with a badge that displays that the home has been vacant for 72 hours in between guest stays. Is it ethical to stay at short-term rentals in remote rural communities? Some travelers are seeking short-term rentals to escape and self-isolate in remote areas. Their trips to a small, rural area introduces a new set of concerns. In doing so, they could risk bringing the coronavirus with them if they are non-symptomatic or still in the incubation phase. In an extreme scenario, their actions might jeopardize a rural community and overburden its smaller, local health care systems.
Overall, the short-term home rental industry is making a positive impact in the fight against the coronavirus and giving consumers options. Short-term rentals and hotels remained open for frontline workers like doctors, nurses, and police officers to self-isolate from family members while working to contain the pandemic. Other properties are being offered to the homeless and victims of domestic violence. Innovation has occurred across Airbnb and other short-term rental operations. Guidance on enhanced cleaning instructions, supplies needed by emergency personnel, and advice on contact-free checking-in procedures are some of those innovations.
Visit www.airbnb.com for more information.